In a bipartisan effort, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi managed to coauthor a bill that fixes the outdated manner in which Medicare doctors are paid. The legislation passed through the House by a landslide margin, 392-37, according to Reuters.
The bill is all set to be heard on the Senate floor as soon as the delegates reconvene from their current recess in mid-April.
The document is the product of what politicians contrived in order to update the anachronistic system in which current Medicare doctors are being paid for providing their services. The soon-to-be-obsolete method of payment was crafted in the 1990s, and directly linked doctor pay to economic growth. Assuming that the bill clears the Senate, doctors will now be paid based off of quality of care administered.
This is among the first areas in which leaders from the Republican and Democratic parties have been able to collaborate on the subject of healthcare. Politicians from both parties are pleased by the cooperation, but perhaps none so much as President Obama.
Reuters recalls the President’s statements on the matter. “I called the Speaker, John Boehner, and the Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi, and I said, congratulations, this is how Congress is supposed to work. They came together; they compromised. This is great. Let’s do more of this,” he remarked.
The bill does not simply focus on paying doctors, though. Kaiser Health News reports that alongside the reforms with the physician’s pay, the legislation also extends the funding period for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for another two years, a reformation that was a high-priority for Democrats.
Despite the victories that the bill is set to introduce, there are, naturally, many points of concern that are leaving some with profound hesitation. The changes are estimated to add $141 billion to the already-humongous U.S. deficit over the next ten years. Moreover, Reuters reports that Medicare recipients with an annual income between $133,000 and $160,000 will see the cost of their premium rise from 50 to 65 percent, and those in the next tier up (making between $160,000 and $214,000) will be bumped from 65 to 75 percent. Such increases have AARP and other organizations of the like up in arms.
Nonetheless, the bill is expected to pass easily through the Senate, and is anticipated make life easier for health care providers and services.